A Q&A With Vic Schaefer

Mississippi State head women's basketball coach Vic Schafer talks to the media, June 16, 2015

How does potential pertain to this signing class?
"Anytime you have kids coming in that haven't played at this level there is a bit of the unknown. But I think on paper they are awfully talented. We have signed our second Parade All-American (6-foot-7 Teaira McCowan) in two years, which is always good. Obviously, one thing for sure, when 6-foot-7 walks through the door everybody notices. We are really excited about them and I think they are excited about being here. We have a little bit of ever thing in the class, size, speed, some exceptional skill sets."

Are all five signees in summer school?
"All five are here. They have been working our camps. And they have been involved in our individual workouts."

Have you been able to build your roster in that senior to freshman balance that you would like to have?
"We will only have one senior this season, but our junior class is four, our sophomore class is five and the freshman class is five. And we also have a transfer who is sitting out who will join the junior class. I feel like our roster is where we want it to be. It has a good balance with guards, forwards and posts. We are not too heavy in one particular position. So, I like the balance of our roster right now."

Are you going to lean on the sophomore class, all highly-rated coming in, to show the freshman class how to handle that?
"The junior class showed how it is done and the sophomore class will show the freshman class how it is done. The most improvement the sophomore will make is right now. Typically, you make the most improvement between your freshman and sophomore seasons. I am excited to see what last year's freshman class will look like as sophomores."

Your senior point guard graduated last season. Now you will have a sophomore and freshman at point guard. How do you think that will work out?
"I think it will be great. And with (Roshunda Johnson) coming in those two have seen what she brings to the table. I think Morgan (Williams) took a step back yesterday and realized how fast Ro is. She told me that is three of us now that can really get up and down the court. She had to take a step back with Ro because Ro has that really first step."

What about the chemistry of this team?
"I think that is a piece that we have really been able to capture here and set us apart. I think that is what is going to allow us to take that next step."

Victoria Vivians' experience in the USA Team trials, was that valuable experience for her?
"No question. I think she has come back sharper. It always works that way it seems like. Kids go off and play against the best in the country, then they come back a little bit better, even if they are there three or four days. I think she got a good taste of that. She is disappointed. And I am glad that she is disappointed that she didn't make it. But I think it will set her up for the future. The bottom line in her position, shooting guard, is you get three days and you better make shots all three days. If you have one bad day it might set you back."

What are your thoughts about Jazmine Spears coming in after playing two years of junior college ball?
"You are talking about a WBCA All-American. But at the same time I think she has walked into the gym and realized that we have a roster full of great players. So, there is going to be competition. (No matter) what it says under your bio, how good you were last year, I think our returning players know that we are going to play the best players. I think (the position she plays) is our busiest position, so to speak. I think we have four kids at that position who can really play. We are trying to move (Breanna Richardson) out to the three some. That will thin that position a little bit. But that is a highly competitive position."

Do you plan on keeping Ketara Chapel at the four?
"Yes, we want to move Bree to the three and keep Ketara at the four. Every time I look at Ketara I think she has grown. She just seems like she gets taller and taller every year."

With the possibility of having 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-7 players ahead of her how do you try to encourage her not to necessarily look at it as if she is number three on the depth chart?
"It is June. We have a long way before we play a game. There will be a lot of improvement, a lot of workouts. So, I don't think anybody is slotting themselves. I am certainly not doing it. We are just trying to get better as a team right now. We are trying to get better as individuals. I think that is what this time of year is all about."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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